Big names safely through semis into Sunday's Tiszaujvaros World Cup finals
Plenty of sprint-distance speed and few surprises were the hallmark of Saturday’s first day of Tiszaujvaros World Cup racing, where two women’s and three men’s races boiled down the fields to 30 athletes for each of Sunday’s finals. The top 14 plus the next two fastest women would qualify, the top 9 plus next three fastest men, leaving some anxious moments for those on the cusp after a hard day in the heat.
Home boy Csongor Lehmann and compatriot Zsanett Bragmayer won their respective races, but it was rather closer to call for Gina Sereno (USA), Dominika Jamnicky (CAN) and Sara Vilic (AUT) after they narrowly avoided missing out.
The women were first into the lake, the Austrian Therese Feuersinger making light work of the notoriously tight three-lap swim while Bragmayer appeared to toil uncharacteristically further back in the mix. Marta Kropko was also looking comfortable in familiar territory and out onto the two-lap bike, where another Swiss, Anja Weber, took control of the nine-deep lead group who had 80 seconds over the Solveig Lovseth-headed chasers.
Tilda Mansson (SWE) was almost dead last out onto the run but was soon picking her way through the field into the safety of the top 10, while Jamnicky would squeak through in the last qualification spot by just one second.
Bianca Seregni stormed the swim in SF2, exiting 30 seconds ahead of Sophie Alden (GBR) and Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) but she was soon caught as 18 athletes swept through together for the remainder of the 20km. Rani Skrabanja was soon dropped, USA’s Sereno making progress behind and running her way into 14th to qualify at the expense of Hanne de Vet (BEL).
In the men’s first semi it was Csongor Lehmann looking comfortable on home turf, leading out of the water and out alongside Alberto Gonzalo Garcia (ESP) with Casper Stornes (NOR) just a few seconds back. The top 9 athletes had a two-minute cushion over lead chaser Gabriel Sandor but the Swede slipped further back and out of contention, Azzano the man in 9th leaving Leon Pauger to sweat it out on the times of SF 2 and 3.
Alessio Crociani (ITA) bossed the second men’s swim of the afternoon with Alois Knabl and Max Stapley, and the bike soon settled into a front 13 with 90 seconds over the chasers. Crociani had to work hard on the first run lap of three to get into safety, exciting young Greek talent Panagiotis Bitados digging in to do likewise to get into 9th, the pace of the middle semi being sufficient to ensure that the fastest extra qualifiers Zsombor Devay (HUN) and Tjebbe Kaindl (AUT) were through in 10th and 11th.
Sergio Baxter Cabrera (ESP) quickly seized control of SF3 after Mark Devay had put together a typically assured swim to come out of the pond ahead of Darr Smith (USA). With Gergo Dobi (HUN) and Martin Demuth (AUT) for company, the five pulled away to put over a minute into the seven chasers.
That meant a battle for the qualification spots was on, Jannik Schaufler (GER) and Trent Thorpe (NZL) moving well, Tyler Smith (BER) and Gaspar Riveros (CHI) chasing ninth, and it was the Bermudian who was able to dig in over the closing stages to book his place in the final.
Watch the Tiszaujvaros World Cup finals on TriathlonLive.tv from 14.45 CEST
The full results from the men’s and women’s semi-finals can be found here.
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